451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
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Another walleye and pike season has been put to rest for a while, so most anglers have turned their attention to the many different trout that the area has to offer. Some nice lake trout have been active up in the Boundary Waters on lakes such as Snowbank, Knife, Thomas and Basswood. Getting into these lakes can be a struggle, as most of the lakes are covered in fifteen inches of snow, so travel on skis or snowshoes are the only way in if you're not running a sled dog team. Outside the Boundary Waters you can also pick up lakers on Snowbank and Burntside. Most folks have been using white jigging tubes, small spoons, Jigging Raps, and Chubby Darters worked rather aggressively throughout the water column. For a dead stick or tip-up, most are using either frozen smelt or a live minnow fished right on the bottom. The lake trout have been most active in waters from thirty to sixty feet deep.

Stream trout have been active too, with some rainbows up to twenty-two inches being brought to the hole on Tofte, Miners, and High and Dry lakes. Small spoons like Tumblers, Tinglers, Swedish Pimples and Buckshots will do the trick. Small jigs tipped with wax worms or salted crappie minnows will work as well. One group pulled a couple of splake from Tofte Lake that tipped the scale around five pounds, which are definitely bragging size.

Crappie anglers have been few and far between, but this action should kick into gear over the next few weeks.

Walleye fishing in the area has pretty much fallen by the wayside. The lack of decent size fish and low numbers have caused anglers to hang up their rods earlier this season just shy of the closing of walleye and pike at the end of February. Some pike are still being caught, but these too have been on the small side.

Trout fishing, have been the go-to fishery for a good number of people this year. Whether it be lake trout on the larger lakes such as Burntside and Snowbank, or rainbow and splake on Tofte, and High and Dry, the success rate remains fairly consistent. Some larger splake have hit the ice anywhere from five to seven pounds from Tofte and High Lakes. Rainbow trout have been the best performers with many in the twelve to twenty-one inches in length. Small jigs tipped with wax worms, small salted minnows or actively jigging small spoons have produced the best results.

Crappie fishing is beginning to pick up as ice conditions have improved considerably.Although there is a heavier amount of snow on the lakes, there is still the ability to drive four-wheeled vehicles around. Best way to travel these days is by snowmobile as it opens up opportunities to venture into the under utilized lakes.

Trout action remains steady throughout the Ely area, with the best reports coming in from Burntside Lake as anglers pursue the lake trout there. The lakers are running on the small side with three to six pound fish being the norm. Active jigging small spoons, rattling plugs and tubes seem to be the most productive. The white tubes are probably accounting for the highest success rate. When fishing them, it pays to work the entire water column as the strikes can happen anywhere from the lake floor to just under the ice. Some are catching a few lakers using live bait whether they be shiners, rainbow chubs or small suckers. These live bait rigs perform best when fished tight to the bottom. Tofte Lake has been producing some dandy rainbow trout up to twenty-three inches. The time of day doesn't seem to have any bearing on the fishing action. What's more important is to rule out non-productive holes, and just keep on moving around untill you mark the active fish. Depth has been a key factor as most action has come from six to twenty feet of water, which helps to eliminate a major portion of the lake right off the bat. One angler reportedly caught three nice splake on Tofte with the largest being six pounds.

Crappie reports have been minimal, perhaps due to the ice conditions of the past couple of weeks, however that appears to be changing as folks are able to drive most anywhere on the ice since the cold snap that we've had. Birch Lake heads the list for great crappie fishing as the length of this lake allows anglers to be spread out and explore the miriad of bays and structure along its length, The population seems to still be good, however the size of the crappies has become smaller over the past couple of years. This is not to say that you can't catch a few of those slabs that approach sixteen inches, it's just that the numbers of the bigger fish has slumped a bit for now. Small minnows on a dead stick work very well, but many more anglers are now finding that small jigs tipped with soft plastics such as Gulp minnows or white or yellow twister tails have been doing the job of bringing fish out of the hole.

A reminder, stay within 200 feet of any dead stick or tip-up that you may place out on the ice, and be sure to have your current fishing license on your person whenever you are fishing. When trout fishing, it is imperative that you also have a trout stamp.

Trout fishing has been dominating the angling scene even as the walleye and northern pike season is winding down, Walleye and pike season ends on the 24th of February this year, so if you desire these species of fish here in the North land, it's time to get out there and get in on the action. Many of the larger lakes have seen very little activity, but those venturing out on some of the smaller, out of the way lakes have been producing some decent catches. The fish seem to be a bit lethargic, so most are relying on a dead stick or tip-up to do the job. Fatheads or crappie size minnows seem to be the most productive.

The lake trout action on Burntside Lake remains steady, although most are reporting that the lakers are on the small size with two to three pounders being the norm, although some lakers are tipping the scales in the eight to ten pound range. White tubes have been responsible for the best success rates, with a lively minnow fished right on the bottom becoming a close second. Try your hand at working the entire water column in waters from thirty-five to sixty feet of water. Some nice rainbows are being caught on Miners Pit and Tofte Lake. Small dark colored jigs tipped with either a salted minnow or wax worm will work, however the hole-hopping fishermen are scoring some larger trout on small spoons.

Crappie action is picking up momentum on lakes such as Birch, Fall, and East Twin. Tiny jigs tipped with a minnow or wax worms have been working well. Jigging Raps and Jigging Shad Raps in size two or three have been taking some nice size crappies as the most aggressive fish are striking them usually on the first drop down the hole. There are times that the continued jigging action draws the attention of the fish and they just may strike a minnow fished near by. Try tipping the Raps with a couple of wax worms to add some scent and to encourage the fish to hold on long enough to get a good hook set.

The extreme cold temperatures of late did little to dissuade many anglers from their quest to find some fish for the dinner table. Several good reports have been coming in from the local trout lakes that have many anglers optimistic.Lake trout up to eight pounds have been coming forth from Burntside Lake, and that shows that the fish population remains stable there. If last season was any indication, then this year should prove to be as fruitful. White tubes and Jigging Raps have been doing an exceptional job of luring these hard fighting fish to bite. Some are also using spoons and doing moderately well. Stream trout have been coming on stronger as the lake conditions continue to improve. Miners Pit and Tofte Lake are still the top two as far as success rates go. Rainbow trout up to twenty-three inches have been coming to the hole in Miners and Tofte Lake has given up a few splake in the five to six pound range. Tiny jigs tipped with wax worms or small spoons worked in relatively shallow water have been working well. Glacier Ponds have also been in the sights of anglers seeking nice rainbow trout.

The walleye fishermen seem to have little success lately as most local lakes have seen a decline in the number of keeper size fish. Although, with some determination and a whole lot of hole hopping, there's still the opportunity to come away with a stringer of fish for the pan. Northern pike action has been steady, but few fish over the forty inch slot have been reported. Suckers fished along saddles and weedy drop-offs were still the best place to target these toothy, hard fighting creatures.

Lake conditions are just now becoming safe to travel as ice thickness has been around fifteen to sixteen inches and any slush that was covering the surface has been frozen with the recent advent of sub-arctic temperatures.